Research NewsBiophysics

Double Helix Does Chemistry at a Distance—But How?

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Science  07 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5305, pp. 1420-1421
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5305.1420

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Add yet another startling ability to the DNA résumé. A Report in this issue (p. 1465) presents evidence that the DNA double helix can perform chemistry at a distance. When light strikes a metal complex tethered to one end of a DNA molecule, a chemical change takes place far down the helix, causing a patch of damaged DNA to be mended. The feat supports the controversial possibility that DNA's unique structure allows it to behave like a conductive wire, which would be an even more impressive attribute.